Women’s soccer had a season focused on rebuilding. With so many new faces on the roster, the team worked on building chemistry and showcasing its new talent. While the Aggies did not close the season with the record they were hoping for, they put together some amazing performances.
UC Davis closed the season with a 8-9-1 record and with a 3-5-1 conference record. The Aggies earned most of their wins at the beginning of the season but their best soccer came in the second half of the year.
Head coach MaryClaire Robinson mentioned the inherent unfairness in a game of soccer where the outcome of the game is dependent on a split second of play as opposed to the 90 minutes as a whole.
“Soccer is a very unforgiving sport sometimes,” she said.
Although Davis struggled to earn conference wins this year, it was never blown out by an opponent. Every conference loss was decided by a single goal, and toward the end of the year, the Aggie offense struggled to gain momentum in the first half of its games.
The first-half lulls led to many second-half offensive assaults and near comebacks. Ultimately the Aggies lost to the best two teams in conference by a single point. The opportunities were certainly there but the finishing simply was not.
Defensively the Aggies were always strong. Sophomore goalie Taylor Jern spearheaded a defense that only allowed three goals in one game against conference opponent Hawai’i. Aside from that one game, UC Davis’ defense held opponents to one goal, sometimes two goals, a game. That effort combined with Jern’s spectacular .800 save percentage indicates how strong the Aggies are on the defensive side of the pitch.
While UC Davis may not have earned a bid to the conference tournament this year, it can definitely set its sights on the conference tournament for next year. The team is only graduating three seniors this year. The loss of senior Allison Kelly certainly detracts from the strength of the offense but Robinson is returning a huge roster of young talent.
Several freshmen rose to the occasion this year, becoming some of UC Davis’ biggest impact players. Jern took over the role of goalkeeper and she ended the season allowing only 21 goals throughout 19 games.
Freshman Sienna Drizin had an outstanding year as well. Drizin was one of Davis’ most promising recruits, hailing from a Las Vegas high school team that was consistently one of the best teams in Nevada. The freshman started all 19 games this season. She earned four goals and an assist in her first year of collegiate play.
Drizin’s efforts earned her a spot on the All Big-West Conference Second Team as well as a spot on the All Big-West Conference Freshman team.
Robinson was happy to have Drizin on the squad this year.
“I think it’s an excellent start to her career. Among the things that Sienna brings is such spunk and such fight. When you have that kind of pace and that kind of fight wrapped into one player, she’s a handful to defend,” Robinson said.
With the season over, the Aggies can take a little break. They can learn from the mistakes they made and continue to build on the good minutes they put together.
With an abundance of talent and several months to improve the offensive chemistry, UC Davis women’s soccer looks to be a real threat in conference play next year. More than anything, it wants to be holding the championship trophy come this time next year.
KIM CARR can be reached at email@example.com.